Attitudes in the fiber of everyday life: The discourse of racial evaluation and the lived experience of desegregation

Kevin Durrheim, John Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article critically reviews the social-psychological literature on race attitudes, which has assumed that the prejudicial status of any expression is determined by the underlying psychological attitude that motivated it. Variation and inconsistency in individuals' attitudinal expressions and disagreement over how to measure prejudice have bedeviled attitude research. Contemporary theories of racial attitudes (symbolic racism, self-presentation, aversive racism) have responded to this problem by explaining how, when, and why attitudes vary and by proposing research paradigms for isolating prejudiced from nonprejudiced expressions. The authors argue that research in this area may be enhanced by the use of qualitative methods that place fewer constraints on the expression of racial attitudes and variability than quantitative methods do. Using empirical materials from a South African case study, the authors show that a focus on attitudinal discourse and the lived experience of desegregation allow researchers to investigate attitudes as social practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-636
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume59
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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